MID DAY MUMBAI
Following a two-and-a-half-month-long inquiry into MiD DAY’s report on a prostitution racket thriving within the premises owned by Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic), Nandkumar Chougule, the department has transferred the top cop to CID, Amravati, in what appears to be a punishment posting. A posting in the CID or special branch is usually considered as ‘punishment’. On December 29, MiD DAY had published an article exposing how Chougule had rented out his bungalow to Cleopatra Day Spa in Seven Bungalows, Andheri, which was home to a flesh trade racket (‘DCP bungalow home to spa sex racket‘).
The racket was unearthed when cops from the Social Service Branch (SSB) raided the premises, and arrested some of the employees of the spa from the spot.”The Commissioner of Police Arup Patnaik had ordered an inquiry into the matter under S P Yadav, joint commissioner of police (administration), after MiD DAY published the story.
The report for the enquiry was submitted to the Additional Chief Secretary, who later decided to transfer Chougule to CID Amravati,” said a senior police officer, on condition of anonymity. MiD DAY had revealed that Chougule also owned an illegal plot that was rented out to a wine shop. “We are yet to take any action against the shop, and we are checking details about it.
A notice was already sent to him. The shop had been rented out to a Juben Sawla,” said a BMC officer from K (West) ward. Despite repeated attempts, Commissioner of Police Arup Patnaik remained unavailable for comment.
Chougule had rented out his bungalow to Saroj Bhakuni, who allegedly converted it to a swank spa, only to use it as a front for her dubious trade. While cops were quick to register an FIR against Bhakuni and two of her colleagues who were assisting her in operating the racket, they did not take any action against Chougule. It was only after MiD DAY published a story on the matter that a committee was set up to enquire into the cop’s culpability.
On December 10, the SS Branch sent one of its officers as a decoy customer to the Cleopatra Day Spa, after receiving a tip-off about the illegal activities thriving within the premises.When the decoy corroborated the information received in the tip-off, officials swooped in and arrested Bhakuni and her accomplices, invoking the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act.
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